By Mathias Eichler
The Trail Running Film Festival - Back on Tour for 2024.
Many of our members are uncomfortable with the recent evolution of the partnership between the UTMB and the carmaker, Dacia, because of what we feel is a conflict with our values, our stated Environmental Ethical Boundaries, and our ideal vision of trail running.
This comment and effort seems to be a bit more of a level-headed approach than the ‘Change.org petition‘ floating around pre-UTMB spearheaded by the ‘The Green Runners’ while the essence of the criticism is largely the same:
I do like the approach the Pro Trail Runners Association is taking here. Doing it this way gives them a good platform to voice their concerns and discomforts. This can open a dialogue.
How UTMB is positioning the Dacia partnership is nothing new and certainly not uncommon in pro sports. Beloved local sports stadiums have their names changed all the time to reflect some corporate sponsors. Teams of the Tour de France have more brands associated to their team name and on their jersey than one can count. Most of the big marathons have a sponsor attached as top billing to their name. But just because it’s common doesn’t make it good. Naming ‘UTMB’ the ‘Dacia UTMB’ sounds kind of gross, no matter what brand is or would be attached. Well, check that if it would be called the ‘Electric Cable Car UTMB’ it would be damn rad, but I digress. Pro athletes who are hoping the sports progresses and offers more support for athletes to make a full-time living should welcome this addition as more money flowing into the sport means more for everyone. And currently the outdoor brands are the only sponsors and thus get to dictate their term. And in turn are raking in the millions without being questioned. Getting sponsor support from ‘outside the industry’ helps with leveling the playing field and offers better sponsorship terms for events.
Here are my questions for UTMB:
Some questions for the fast athletes on the frontlines calling themselves pros:
The amateur, every-person trail runner who feels that our sport should keep it’s ‘grassroots feel’.